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Should I Use Pop-Up Ads?

Web advertising has taken many forms, including those that appear within the Web page as an in-line graphic, as well as those that "pop up" (over) or "pop under" a browsing window. If you are considering the use of pop ups on your website as an advertising method, this article provides some points you should consider.

Some studies have reported that consumers despise these intrusive and annoying advertisements and even feel "violated" and "molested" by their presence. Online consumers are goal-oriented and perceive online advertisements to be even more intrusive than those in other media. Further, online consumers develop negative attitudes towards the advertisements which then lead them to develop intentions to not return to the site.

An important goal of website designers is that users will retain the content to promote subsequent visits and/or referrals to other potential visitors. Ads compete for attention and raise cognitive effort, whether reading or avoiding them, interfering with use of the site and reducing the likelihood of retaining the site's content. The more mental energy extended to non-website material, the less retention of website content can be expected.

Research has shown that interruptions have a negative impact on emotion and well-being, and lead to increases in effort expenditures. Although any advertisement can be classified as an interruption, one that requires a user action to remove it, like a pop-up ad, will cause an increased expenditure of effort, reducing retention of website content. Because an in-line ad requires less interruption and mental energy than a pop-up ad, we expect higher website retention levels in those subjects receiving in-line ads as compared to pop-up ads.

What about retention of ad content? Common sense tells us that ads that are most visible will be remembered. However, deeper consideration of web advertising reveals that while pop-up ads are more interruptive than in-line ads, requiring a user to act to remove them, they appear on the screen for a shorter time period because users tend to close them immediately. In-line ads remain visible for a much longer period, and users are thus more likely to see them in their peripheral vision. It is expected that this longer time will increase user retention of the ad content.

Some Internet service providers and highly trafficked Web sites have decided to discontinue the use of intrusive advertising. Both AOL Time Warner and Microsoft announced in October 2002 that they would eliminate the majority of pop-up ads on their Internet services in response to rising complaints from users. In their eyes, the loss of advertising dollars is worth the boost in public image as a result of the policy change.

Also you should consider that online consumers have the option to eliminate pop-up ads using a number of methods, such as free, third-party pop-up killing (PUK) software and toolbars that stop unwanted browser windows.

If you still want to use pop up ads on your website here are some recommendations:

1) Never use more than one pop-up per visitor.

2) Use a pop-up when your visitor is leaving your website, not when he has just entered and is trying to see what you have to offer.

3) Use pop-ups only for special purposes such as to remind your visitors to subscribe to your ezine, offer a free download or a free course by autoresponder.

The author of this article is Ronald Vyhmeister, visit his website at
Internet Marketing Tool Reviews (please link to http://www.tenbytes.com/internetmarketing.html )
You can join his newsletter at http://www.tenbytes.com

Feel free to use this article in your website or newsletter, but keep this author box with live links.

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